Silenced No More Act Was Introduced to Ban Use of NDA on Harassment Claims
A new California bill, the Silenced No More Act, was proposed to help employees who were silenced by non-disclosure agreements (NDA) from alleging harassment to be allowed to speak out openly.
Silenced No More Act
The Silenced No More Act, Senate Bill 331, was presented by State Senator Connie Leyva to the legislature in February 2021.
If the law is passed, it will empower workers who have encountered discrimination, abuse, or form of harassment at their workplace to speak up even if confidentiality agreements bind them.
Senate Bill 331 is co-sponsored by California Employment Lawyers Association. It is also a San-Francisco-based organization that upholds gender equality in workplaces and schools.
According to Senator Levya, the bill aims to encourage victims to speak up, if they would want, and to hold offenders accountable.
The “Silence No More Act” supplements an existing California law that State Senator Levya proposed in 2018, the Strengthening Traditional American Diplomacy (STAND) Act.
The STAND Act was passed during the peak of the #MeToo movement. This act prohibited settlement agreements that stopped employees from speaking out about sexual harassment and abuse in the workplace.
However, it did not cover any other harassment claims.
The Silence No More Act was inspired by the experience of two Black women who alleged Pinterest of racism and discrimination.
Pinterest Discrimination Settlement
The two women, who previously worked at Pinterest’s public policy team, claimed that the company unfairly paid them. In addition, they also allegedly received racist comments from their supervisors.
Pinterest initially dismissed the case. However, the company eventually ended up paying a $22.5 million settlement after similar allegations were filed against them.
The case of the two women was settled in court, as they were covered by the STAND Act on their gender-based claims. Their claims regarding racism weren’t settled as this was not covered by the STAND Act.
Silenced No More Act Coverage
The Silenced No More Act aims to build on the coverage of the STAND Act. It seeks to provide more protection regarding different types of harassment cases.
According to Senator Levya, discrimination, abuse, or harassment due to race, ethnicity, religion, age, sexual orientation, disability, or any other form should not be tolerated.
The senator believes that employers should not silence their workers from speaking up regarding any form of harassment they encounter in the workplace.
Senate Bill 331 seeks to prevent the employer’s use of non-disclosure agreements to speak publicly about the discrimination employees experienced. It also aspires to put a stop to secret settlements in the workplace.
She also believes that the employer’s ability to make secrets deals to settle office harassment through confidentiality agreements should be prohibited and stopped.
This encourages discrimination and harassment acts in the workplace to continue.
The senator asserts that perpetrators should be responsible and should be held accountable for their actions.
The act hopes to discourage and prevent systematic racism in the workplace.
Editor’s Note on The Silenced No More Act:
This article is published to inform you of the latest bill proposed by Senator Levya, known as the Silenced No More Act.
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